tv Caught on Camera MSNBC March 13, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
sometimes the best-laid plans can go awry, leading to the worst kind of day possible. it's a picture perfect afternoon for skydiving, but this jumper ends up hanging on for dear life. >> there's nothing nobody can do to save him. >> at a kentucky gas station, a routine fill-up flares up. >> it happened so fast. everybody was in so much shock. further south, a tow job in texas turns perilous while another tow goes south in the
snowy northeast. >> oh, my god! >> animals can have horrible days too. rush hour on a freeway is always bad but for a tiny dog, it's life threatening. these are the stories of when ordinary days turn into very bad ones. "caught on camera: very bad day." a woman in iowa fights for her life after her small boat capsizes over a dam. june 30, 2009 is just winding down for an iowa bridge construction crew along the des moines river when crane operator joe law notices something terribly wrong. >> i seen the boat drift down and he started it up and he was
trying to wrap with an anchor or rope or something. then i heard him holler at his wife, put her life jacket on and he didn't have one on. >> there's nothing anyone nearby can do to stop the boat carrying a husband and wife from plummeting over the center street dam. the man is carried downstream, but the woman is caught in the turbulence or boil of the falls, rushing over the lowhead dam. a swift water rescue team is called in and captured by local nbc cameras. they know time is not on their side for anyone trapped in the dam. the short falls create a powerful undertow too strong for the woman to swim out of. pushing against the strong current, rescuers get as close
as they can, throwing her a line. but the celebration is premature according to des moines police sergeant, joe gonzalez. >> evidently, the person didn't have enough strength to hold on so they could be pulled to safety. >> the powerful sucking water kept pulling her under. >> further downstream, her husband does not make it out alive and his body is recovered by rescue workers. >> i was already down at that other bridge. because i was going to try to save that guy, because i thought the woman was okay. then i run back up here, and my boss, chad, told me to get in the crane, let's move this stuff and get the crane up closer. >> but there's still hope for the man's wife. so the quick-thinking construction crew jumps into action. the 26-year veteran crane operator jumps into the seat. >> they just harness me up and dip me down in the water and i grabbed her.
>> just trying to lift him, i took him out of the white water up to the grass. >> all are relieved, including des moines fire captain, steve brown. >> we probably could have lost her at any moment, but with them pulling her out and saving her life. >> some call the men heroes, but they're reluctant to accept that title. >> what are you going to do? it's no big deal, the crew did it. >> i don't feel much like a hero, because the first one's gone. >> it's a tragedy, but it could have been worse. because of the quick work of the rescuers and the last words of her husband, "put on your life vest," the woman makes a full recovery. from a dam in the plains of iowa to rushing water in the mountains of colorado, this time it's the rescuers themselves who struggle to stay alive. tiny georgetown is built more
than a mile and a half above sea level, and the rocky mountain peaks that surround it tower another mile higher. so when the snow on the summit melts in the spring, it can run down swiftly, swelling leavenworth creek that runs through georgetown. short bridges for private residences span the quiet creek. but on june 21st, 1995, this picturesque scene turns into a potential death trap. on one short bridge, water pours over it, catching two firefighters who have fallen in. from on top of the bridge, colleagues attempt to pull them out. initially, georgetown fire chief kelly babion and his team are there to protect surrounding homes with sandbags. >> 1995, it was pretty high snowfall year, so the runoff was coming down fast and the creek was high and then we had a
thunderstorm, who increased the runoff on this particular day. >> but while sandbagging, three firefighters slip in. one who manages to hold on to a short brick wall is pulled to safety. a second, wearing a baseball hat, is also rescued by his colleagues. >> can you kick? >> but a third, todd neskiss is not so lucky. he's stuck on the bridge and no one is able to pull him up out of the powerful current. >> his legs catch under the bridge kind of like this, and his upper body is against this bridge and the water coming against his back is wanting to pull him under the bridge. he was starting to slip under the bridge and his head was going underwater. we're trying to pull him straight up, and it really wasn't working. the physics of that. his boots were full of water and his turnout pants were full of water and that was helping to
hold him down. so it was very heavy, trying to pull him out. >> while the force of the stream is crushing his chest against the bridge, the melt water's temperature is just above freezing, zapping whatever energy todd has left. responding to a call from another firefighter, sheriff major rick albers arrives on scene. the officer has just recently completed swift water rescue training. >> from my experience in training in swift water rescue, he wasn't going to be able to be pulled out just by his arms. they would had to have almost get him in half to get him up from that position. >> myself and a sheriff's deputy determined the only way we were going to get him out of the water was to pull him back upstream, away from the bridge, to get him out, because it was not working, trying to pull him straight up. >> on bunker pants, they have
suspenders that go up, and i was able to feel down his suspenders and be able to grab as much of the pants and pull. >> come on! >> with all his might, major albers yanks the fireman back upstream, but the waterlogged man is so heavy, he's pulling the officer in too. just at that moment, former paramedic, pam strong grabs the major. >> she grabbed ahold of my legs, which really helped me at that time, i will never forget it, and i was able to pull up enough and get his lower body, hips, upstream, and pull up enough that i got him up on to the bridge, up to safety. >> chief kelly and his team assess his injuries. they have two very serious concerns. hypothermia and water in his lungs.
the team removes his cold, wet clothes as quickly as possible. todd is winded, but his airway is clear. major albers assists with one of the other firefighters who also fell into the freezing water. miraculously, there are no serious injuries that day. >> it was a group effort. if they wasn't able to hold on to him on that bridge, we would have been downstream looking for the fireman. >> georgetown first responders transform luck from this bad day into improvements for future swift water rescues. the hope is that they'll be able to rely less on luck and more on preparedness. >> we've learned a lot from the '95 event, to we're not wearing our turnout gear and we're wearing life vests and we have a swift water team that is on standby for us. >> they'll be ready if babbling leavenworth creek ever decides to rage again.
coming up, one kentucky driver finds out that sliding across cloth seats on a cold night can be hazardous. >> it was like an eight-foot flame shooting out of the vehicle. like you would see a firework on the fourth of july. >> when "caught on camera: very bad day" continues. (two text tones) now? (text tone) excuse me. (phone tone) again?
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comcast business. built for business. in versails, kentucky, a small town calm is broken when a fill-up turns potentially deadly. december 6th, 2009. it's a cool, breezeless evening at a convenient food mart gas station in rural central kentucky. the manager on duty is ashley taylor. >> kind of do a little bit of everything. cook, cleaning, and taking care of the customers and making sure they're happy. >> outside, a security camera
captures a man in a gray hoodie filling his tank. he grabs his cell phone from the front seat to answer a call. eventually, retreats from the chilly night back inside his car to talk on his phone. as two more customers pull in, the man on the cell gets out to remove the nozzle. that's when, without warning this fill-up goes up in flames. >> right at that moment, i turn to my right, and there was like an eight-foot flame shooting out of the vehicle, like you would see a firework on the fourth of july. >> from a truck parked close by off-camera, customer mark called 911 in disbelief. >> i watched this car go up in flames so fast. you start to ask yourself, what's inside the car? >> as the fire accelerates, another danger grows. buried just a few feet below the car, gas reservoirs hold hundreds of gallons of fuel. if fire travels down the pump to
those reservoirs, it could blow the gas station and everyone around it sky high. >> my heart was beating a thousand miles per hour. i turn around and push the emergency shutoff button, which shuts all the pumps down for safety, everything's underground, and you're just like, you know, did i push the button in time? >> an interior camera records ashley hitting the button. a few customers retreat inside the store, along with the driver, who is uninjured. they can't leave because it's too dangerous. >> even though we were inside, we could feel the heat. we were waiting, because we thought the windows would shatter, there was so much heat. >> by the time a fire truck arrives, the car is fully engulfed. >> couldn't look away. you know, you were just fixated on it. when are they going to get this thing out? >> with firefighters on scene, eyewitness mark toy goes across the street to record the inferno using his cell phone camera. he captures emergency workers
spraying a special foam. the flames draw back, belch thick plumes of smoke and steam. the firefighters disappear inside the cloud. as scary as that looks, in just two minutes, the foam does its job and the fire is out. >> as soon as they got it foamed, the entire area filled with smoke. it was smoldering for quite some time. >> inside the incinerated vehicle, firefighters discover remnants of toddler's clothing. they belong to the driver's young daughter, who thankfully was left home that night. tragedy was also avoided, because ashley shut the pumps off the time. >> when i talked to the fire department, they said if the button had not been pushed, that it could have caused an explosion within a half a mile of the actual gas station. >> so she probably saved a lot of damage when she hit the emergency stop, that stopped the pump, shut off access to the underground tank off. so she probably saved the
building. >> with the fire out and everyone safe, one question remains. what sparked the fire? gasoline vapors are more flammable than liquid gas. fuel vapors are also heavier than air, so they sink. and on such a cool, breezeless night, the fumes stay where they fall and pile up. so conditions are perfect for what happens next. >> the occupant of the car got in out of his car several times, the car had cloth seats, the subject had hoodie tight clothing on, and we believe that it built up a static charge, and when he got back out of his car for the last time and reached for the nozzle to shut it off, the static charge he had built up in his body discharged and ignited the vapors. >> the lesson to be learned here is, next time you're at the pump on a cold, breezeless night, make sure to touch something metal before you touch the gas pump, especially if you have cloth seats.
it will go a long way to preventing your average day from getting worse in a flash. coming up, a skydiving mishap threatens to take down an entire plane with 17 on board. >> if he rips out, the airplane can go into a dead spin and nobody will be able to get out. >> when "caught on camera: very bad day" continues. se is approvo relieve both your itchy, watery eyes and congestion. no other nasal allergy spray can say that. complete allergy relief or incomplete. let your eyes decide. flonase changes everything.
15,000 feet above eastern illinois, a skydiver's parachute snags the tail of a plane, leaving the jumper twisting and helpless. his life, along with the lives of 17 others still on board, hangs in the balance. august 2004, hundreds of jumpers from around the world gather in illinois for the four-day world free fall festival. it's the largest skydiving convention in the world at the time. for skydiver norman benitas, it's a chance to join friends
and videotape 120-mile-per-hour drops to earth. >> i jump because i love the thrill. for me, skydiving has different thrills at the same time. because you get the excitement of jumping out of the airplane and you get the rush of free falling, and, you know, it gives you that impression that you're flying. but the third thrill is you have that canopy ride that is more peaceful and you can enjoy the scenery. >> when jumping alone, you simply step out of the door. but group jumps require coordination between skydivers, climbing outside the plane, grabbing handles and standing on rails. once everyone is in position, the lead jumper gives the signal to release. at skydiving festivals, with so many people jumping from so many planes, there's limited space on the ground to repack all those parachutes for subsequent jumps.
so event organizers provide packers. enthusiasts who pack chutes quickly for a small fee. on the third day of the festival, norman plans a group jump with three colleagues, including veteran skydiver, orlando amador. >> orlando was actually a tandem master by the time i met him. tandem master is those guys that when you go for the first time, they attach to you and they're the ones that actually take you for a ride. >> orlando's experience should be an asset for the group jump. but when it's time to board the plane, the packers haven't completed orlando's chute. he rushes the packer through the process, so he can take off with his buddies. it's a decision he's about to regret. as they climb to 15,000 feet, norman presses record on the camcorder strapped to his helmet. >> on that jump, orlando and myself were the only ones wearing a camera. it's a good thing to have video,
so you can tape your friends and they can tape you and you can see what you did wrong and fix any problem that you have, just to become better. a better skydiver. >> with norman's camera recording, no one is ready for what happens next. as orlando turns his back to the door, his pack opens, the chute flies out, opening prematurely, yanking him out and gets snagged on the plane's trail. he twists out of control, smacking on side of the plane. orlando's own helmet cam also records the event. now his lives and the lives at everyone on the plane are at risk. >> having a premature deployment or early deployment is very dangerous. a lot of things can happen. by the force orlando is drug out of the plane, he can hit the door, be unconscious. you can see the canopy pull of air on top and on bottom and the pressure is so great, that you
can actually feel the plane bouncing up and down, like some type of earthquake. if he rips out the tail of the airplane, the airplane can go into a dead spin and nobody will be able to get out. there's nothing nobody can do to save him, there's no way you can climb to the tail to the back and try to release him. that's only in the movies. >> there's only one thing can skydivers left inside can do -- jump. the pilot increases airspeed to counter the turbulence, but that puts more pressure on orlando's chute. as norman descends, his thoughts and his video remain with his friend, who's still dangling from the back of the plane. >> i'm flying down, i can see the plane just getting further and further and i see orlando, just on the plane and the only thing that went through my mind was, cut away. that's the only thing you can
think of. i don't know if he's conscious, i don't know if he knows what's going on at this point. >> orlando amador remains conscious, but he and the plane are still in grave danger. orlando's own camera is still recording. >> there was a lot of tension from the canopy pull. i didn't realize it was open. i just felt the tension. i was trying to hold on with my hands until the pull was so strong that i just couldn't hold. it wasn't until i looked up and saw the plane was still there that i realized, this ain't normal, this ain't good. we have to do something about this. >> all skydivers carry a second chute called a reserve and that reserve is orlando's only hope. he has to cut away his primary and pray the backup works. just as he releases, his tangle primary canopy shreds from the wind rushing over the tail. orlando still clenches the rip cords in his hand, free falling from 12,000 feet. at 4,500 feet, he pulls his reserve.
it works. orlando is now able to drift safely to the ground. keeping his cool under pressure turns a very bad day into a great story. >> there's no actual training for hanging from a plane, but there wasn't mush i could do at that time, just cut away, reserve. >> orlando's relieved when he finally reaches earth again. the pilot also lands the plane safely. orlando considers why his canopy might have opened early. a chute's deployment depends a lot on the closing loop. a small piece of cord that holds the entire chute inside the container if the closing loop is too loose, wind can get inside and pull the chute open. a pin olds it all in place. >> something happened when the packer was closing the container, the closing loop broke.
so in the same hurry, she had to place a new closing loop in there. was it new, was it old, was it worn out, was it too loose, too tight? unless we get that little piece of material, there's no way we can determine that. >> still, the snnt enough to deter orlando from the sport he loves. stepping out at 15,000 feet, in no time, he's back in the air with a new chute, a little wiser, and as passionate as ever. >> i love this sport. i don't think it's a crazy sport. we might be crazy for doing it, but i love it. i mean, it's a thrill and you get to meet great people. coming up, a tow truck driver's day goes from bad to critical, when "caught on camera: very bad day" continues.
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>> a maryland police officer has died after being shot in an unprovoked attack. two suspects are under arrest right now. a second person was shot and is listed in stable condition. the death toll on a terrorist attack in turkey is up to 34 with more than 100 people wounded. the car bomb targeted civilians at a bus stop. kurdish militants carried out that attack. now back to "caught on camera." in texas, a tow truck driver and young father-to-be fears for his life, wondering if this is the end. january 24th, 2010. 21-year-old edward wiley makes his usual rounds, just after midnight at an apartment complex in southeast houston. the company he works for is
contracted to inspect the complex daily and remove any illegally parked vehicles. he's worked at red light wreckers for two years. he enjoys the job and the steady paycheck, especially with a child on the way. company owner chris hoffmeister says edward is one of the company's best drivers at the time. >> he was a young gentleman, very energetic, very eager. at one point, he worked at walmart. so going from working at walmart and making minimum wage to being a tow truck driver, which pays fairly well, i would say, he was very happy where he was at within the company. >> to help keep his drivers safe on the job, hoffmeister outfits all his trucks with safety vision cameras. always rolling, the cameras are ready to capture any incident from four angles.
as edward passes a fire lane, he notices a ford f-250 pickup truck parked illegally. he checks to see if anyone may be waiting inside to move it. no one is there. what he finds, instead, is a barking dog outside the pickup that seems to be protecting it. edward takes photos of the pickup to document its license plate and its infraction inside the fire lane. that way, he can submit both as evidence to support the $70 fine the driver must eventually pay to retrieve his vehicle. but with a pickup truck that big, edward will need more time to remove it than he would towing a smaller car. edward's tow truck is big enough to handle the f-250, but because the ford is a rear-wheel drive, its back wheels are locked in park, so edward can't tow the truck very far with its back wheels fixed in place. and with the tow lot four miles away, he won't make it. so first he'll have to tow it out by its front wheels to release it, and lift it again by
its back wheels to tow it away from the complex. his first attempt to lift the heavy pickup doesn't work. he realigns his rig and tries again. then, two men run out of the complex and one throws a beer bottle at edwards' tow truck, hitting the back window. >> usually, in a situation like that, without the beer bottles being thrown at them, usually the drivers do get out of the vehicle and approach, to try to explain to them what's going on. the law also offers them the opportunity for us to release the vehicle on site, collect payment for the vehicle being parked illegally. >> you [ bleep ] my truck? >> what the [ bleep ] are you doing? >> what the [ bleep ] are you doing? >> you threw a bottle at my truck? who threw the bottle? who threw it? >> what the [ bleep ] are you doing? >> with the verbal confrontation, the offender loses any chance for edward to cut him some slack. >> i'm calling the cops on all
y'all drunks. >> get the [ bleep ] out of here! don't [ bleep ] truck [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. >> when the bottle thrower gets inside the ford f-250 and starts it, edward lifts the pickup off the ground. then, without warning, the man opens his door, aims a gun, and fires at edward. >> four shots, all four hitting the tow truck, two of them actually penetrating the cab, the back of the cab, and almost hitting edward. he was, he was not shot, you know. i mean, thank god. he was very lucky, i would have to say. i mean, obviously, someone was looking over him. >> losing no time, the veteran driver is able to release the truck using the remote control with one hand while putting the truck into drive with the other. >> his ability to react with the
situation having bullets flying at him and being experienced with him being here for so long actually saved him life. not just that, but in the rear, or in the back end of his driver's seat, there's actually a cross bar that's only, say, 2 inches wide in that whole seat, and the bullet did hit that cross bar and ricocheted down. so with that bar being in place, i would say that also saved his life, right there. >> also, if edward had been just a few inches taller, a second bullet penetrating the passenger seat could have hit his head when he leaned over. unarmed, edward floors it and dials hoffmeister to report the incident. but now he's got another problem. because the wheels of his tow truck were pointing left when he hit the gas, he was forced into a dead end. to exit the complex, he must first circle past the place where the shooter tried to kill him moments earlier. luckily, the armed man has
already fled the scene in the f-250. edwards' luck holds out. cameras that capture the entire incident, including the pickup license plate, help police identify the shooter and issue a warrant. unfortunately, the shooter stays one step ahead. police believe the man escapes across the mexican border. surviving this brush with death motivates edward to act on his long-held desire to become a stand-up comic. >> he actually was a pretty funny guy and he cracked jokes left and right, always had something smart to say. >> i'm calling the cops on all y'all drunk asses. >> edward right now, the last-known whereabouts about him, he was in california and he's fulfilling his desire to become an actor/comedian. >> so sometimes a very bad day can give us the push we need to leave a steady gig and embrace a dream. coming up, a different kind
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surfaces, according to longtime resident, roberta ford. >> traffic has increased a lot since these houses have gone in. but i've found that sometimes even pulling out of my driveway, i'll just sit there and watch people go by and they're going 40, 50 miles an hour. >> prepared to document any incident on her property with her digital camera, roberta snaps stills of an suv that slides off the road on to her front lawn. behind the wheel is one of her new young neighbors. the sheriff is already on scene. turns out the truck has hit a steel electrical junction box installed on roberta's property. the driver and his passengers are not hurt, but the accident dislodges high-voltage cables, which feed electricity to the entire neighborhood. the cables attached to the junction box are pulled out of the ground when the suv hits the box. now power is out for more than three dozen homes. switching her camera to video,
roberta is ready to record anything else that might happen on her land. within the hour, new hampshire electric co-op workers are on site to assess the dang. but before they can make any repairs, a flatbed tow truck must first remove the suv. the conditions are potentially deadly. >> you got wet ground, snow, and electricity. not a good recipe. it's a recipe for disaster. so the electrical worker, he was getting down in front to make sure that the power was off, so that they could restore the power to the other houses. >> as the power worker looks down at the cables, the tow winch fails, so he never sees the suv rolling towards him. >> oh, look out! oh, my god! >> robert's unable to alert the man in time. >> oh, look out! oh, my god! oh, my god. >> he's trapped beneath the suv. >> i couldn't believe he was
seeing what i was seeing. i was in shock. i actually froze. i thought he was dead. i really did. i -- my heart was in my -- i thought the man was dead. >> the worker is pinned against the junction box, but alive. >> with the suv still attached to the flatbed's winch, the tow operator slowly pulls the vehicle off the man. the man gets to his feet, but has trouble standing upright. he uses another utility box to brace himself. then, miraculous, he limps away on his own. >> i mean, he's got an angel on his shoulder. he has to. he's got more than an angel, because i'll tell you, anybody else, they probably would have been dead. even now, to watch it, it still bothers me to watch it. >> he suffers significant bruising, but recovers quickly. curious about how the worker managed to survive, roberta takes a closer look once the area is clear.
she surmises the junction box still held in place by the cables stopped the suv. >> that thing is still, and i think that's what saved the electrical guy. >> it just proves that on a bad day, a little good luck can go a long way. >> oh, look out! oh, my god! >> from a bad tow in snowy new hampshire to a quick-freeze incline in utah. dozens of drivers are caught off guard, turning a residential road into a downhill demolition derby. >> look out, lady! >> watch out! >> just 18 miles north of salt lake city, bountiful utah is built into the foothills of the wasatch mountains. because snow is so common, most locals know how to handle
driving in it. but on january 21st, 2012, freak rain in bountiful makes route 400 conditions worse than usual, according to longtime resident, dave kitchen. >> it was just pouring rain. what you'd normally see in late spring some place. then it changed to snow, just like started out with like a layer of slush, and then the temperature dropped fast enough that that slush just turned to ice. i've never seen anything like that here. >> and as heavy snowfall covers the icy road, neighbor rhee braby just happens to be videotaping at the right time. >> my parents were in the caribbean and my dad just -- i just got off the phone with my dad and he was telling me how great the weather was there. so i was making a video to send to him to show him what he was missing. >> just as rhee is capturing the freezing weather, a white saturn barrels down the hill toward a honda suv, stuck in the middle of the road. >> watch out! >> rhee alerts motorists talking
on the sidewalk. the driver avoids the suv, but ends up spinning around, right in front of rhee's camera. no other vehicles are approaching and the dizzy driver continues on as if nothing's happened. >> when the white car was spinning out, you can see that i'm backing up a little behind the fence, and i was trying to position myself where i could get out of the way if a car was coming towards me. >> the stranded suv that forced the white car around it belongs to rhee's neighbor, dave kitchen. dave's been driving on route 400 for decades, and for bountiful, it's unusual that there are now plows in sight. >> it's really uncommon to beat the plow, because they are out there very quick on these storms. a lot of times, before the snow even flies, they're out, putting down salt or things to make sure this doesn't happen. we ended up backing into a car, just kind of a bump, and we sat there. >> watch out!
>> seconds later, the camera captures dave's honda suv spinning into another car and sliding to the curb. >> it got hit by a truck that pounded it pretty hard, and everybody was congratulates me on such a great parallel parking job i had done, the problem was, i wasn't in the car, no one was in the car. >> luckily, dave and his wife have gotten out of the car just moments before. with still no plows or police on scene, residents alert drivers at the top of the hill, but the warning go unheeded. >> oh, people, don't even try. oh, my god. look out, lady! >> watch out! >> the two suvs manage to avoid people in the road. >> watch out, bill. watch out, bill! >> but the red one hits dave's honda pilot. the third time it's been hit by a vehicle.
and the larger white suv smacks into the first plow on scene. all inside survive, but there are still more out-of-control vehicles right behind them >> watch out, guys! watch out! >> get out of the road! get out of the road! >> a driver just misses people running away on the sidewalk and lands in betty ian's front yard. >> i saw a woman barrel through the hedges. and i was afraid that she may have been seriously hurt and when she stepped out of the car it was the biggest relief that she was okay. >> watch out, guys! here comes another one. >> but the icy hill will still claim one more vehicle. a full sized car slides sideways out of control. it crunches the pickup with full force. fortunately there's no passenger in the car and it doesn't stop until it hits a tree, next to
the first car that slid into the yard. all told, more than two dozen cars slid past the camera, ten of them suffering damage. no one is seriously injured. when an officer arrives on scene to sort out this bad day in bountiful, he discovers that eight of the ten drivers involved in accidents came from a nearby town to attend a church function up the hill and were unfamiliar with the road. with a higher power likely still fresh in their minds, the fury of old man winter brings them quickly back to earth. >> people have asked don't you know how to drive in utah? don't you have chains and snow tires? but i can guarantee anybody who started up on the hill once you're committed, there was no way to stop. >> it just proves that even the most experienced winter drivers can get caught with their bad day showing.
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just outside phoenix, arizona, a car flips on a busy freeway. the stunned female driver survives the crash, but another survivor escapes and is on the loose, endangering its own life along with scores of drivers. more than 1.4 million people call phoenix home. the sixth most populous cities in america, it's among the fastest growing in the country. as the population grows, so does the traffic. on any given day, the 101 loop that surrounds phoenix carries up to 120,000 vehicles driving 65 miles an hour or faster.
and it's the arizona department of public safety's job to make sure commuters avoid its daily hazards, according to officer jeremy perry. >> as i patrol motor officer, most of my calls are what i deal with on a daily basis is traffic relation, whether it's traffic stops, collisions, motorists helping individuals that are broken down on the freeway. >> november 16, 2011. during rush hour on the 101 loop a car is clipped by another vehicle, hits the wall and flips. the driver is okay. but her two small dogs in the car get spooked and bolt in opposite directions. one of them, a shih tzu called muffin, is caught on camera. every stride she takes could be her last.
officer perry is among the first to arrive at the accident. >> the sergeant that was on scene told me to get the dog so when i looked back he said no, not that dog and he pointed north of our location. he said go get the other dog. and i looked ahead of me and saw traffic stopping in the roadway to get that dog. >> the dog runs on to a road parallel to the freeway. a driver does her best to corral it, but the frightened three month old pup runs right by. as officer perry catches up, the dog is scared back toward the freeway. at only nine inches high she's well below the sight line of speeding motorists. the slow-driving highway cop puts himself in frochblt of the speeding traffic to protect her. >> probably worst case scenario i get hit by a car. i put out to dispatch i need a traffic break. >> a traffic break is what police do to slow on stop traffic. officer bennett rushes to assist. >> i was trying to get slow traffic to make it a little
safer for us. so traffic, you know, is not zooming by us at 80 miles an hour. once i got it stopped and officer perry tried to grab it and the dog took off. it's hard to catch an animal. especially they're out scared running on the highway. they'll do anything to get away from anybody that's coming after them. so sometimes it does take quite a bit to catch a dog. >> i could stay behind the dog and push the dog. officer bennett could go ahead far enough to where we had the dog somewhat pinned in. >> but the nine-inch high dog proves too quick for the 6'8" officer bennett who is giving chase in stiff motorcycle boots. terrified, the dog is desperate to get away, but, finally this four-legged escapee realizes there's no where left to turn. she can't outrun the long arm of officer bennett. still, she's not going down without a fight. cornered after running more than a mile, the dog bites officer bennett's hand with what little energy she's got left.
>> it was so tired that there was nothing behind the bite and i had my gloves on. >> bennett is not sure if the dog has any injuries, so he lifts the pup carefully doing his best to calm it. a full veterinary exam later reveals that the dog is fine. the other dog, a chihauhau mix, is also retrieved safe and sound. it's not the first time officer bennett has done this, nor will it be the last. >> i've chased dogs before on the highway. every highway patrolman has. in fact, it happened to me today on my way to work. >> but this "caught on camera" rescue will always stand out because of the owner, lindsay's, grateful response. >> just getting them back in my arms was all that mattered. they saved my children, you know? it's the greatest thing. >> it felt pretty good because people love animals and it was nice to save them. >> sometimes with just a little extra effort, even a very bad